India continued their impressive record of going deep in International Cricket Council tournaments by reaching the final of the Champions Trophy for the second edition running but it was ultimately a thrashing that very few in the world saw coming. Except maybe Pakistan themselves. A 180-run defeat on Sunday at The Oval was nothing short of a pasting.
So how did the players perform for India? Here are our ratings, out of 10, for each of the 12 players who played during the tournament.
Shikhar Dhawan - 9
The undisputed topper of this Champions Trophy class for India. It’s no secret that Dhawan has often come in for criticism in his stop-start career for his inability to string together a good run of matches. But there is something about the ICC tournaments that seemingly gets his juices flowing. His selection was once again questioned – it’s tough to remember the last time it was not – but thanks to the injury to KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane’s lack of form, Dhawan, with 338 runs, finished the tournament as the leading run-getter for the second edition running. That’s almost enough to get him a perfect 10, but a sole failure in the final is a failure nonetheless.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 9
The most-improved One-Day International bowler for India. Just a couple of seasons back, his place in all formats was under doubt. A constant criticism was that he was losing his swing in an attempt to gain pace, but little did we know that we would have India’s most complete white-ball bowler mid-way through 2017. He’s a natural with the new ball, has improved leaps and bounds with the old ball too. When every other bowler was leaking runs in the final against Pakistan, Bhuvneshwar was a sea of calm and finished with figures of 10-2-44-1. He kept Fakhar Zaman under check in his first spell and at the death, mixed up his yorkers and bouncers well to provide a semblance of control to Virat Kohli.
Rohit Sharma - 8
A first-over duck in the final against Mohammad Amir and an uncharacteristic slog against South Africa means Sharma scores less than his opening partner, but this was a fine return to international cricket for the Mumbaikar. He finished only second to Dhawan in the run-scoring charts. The dismissal in the final against Amir was one of those deliveries that you can’t really do anything about, you just have to stand up and applaud the bowler. Overall, the worries at the top of the order which dominated pre-tournament analysis, turned out to be the biggest gain at the end of it.
Hardik Pandya - 8
He finished the tournament as the most expensive of all Indian bowlers. His position as the fifth bowler was the one thing that was directly questioned by the media before the final and Kohli’s response to that was telling.
“I would back a guy like Hardik who provides you so much balance in conditions that he can be effective as a bowler and his batting is priceless,” Kohli said. “If you’re chasing a total and you need eight an over and you’ve lost wickets, he’s a guy who can still win you the game. He can give you a match-winning performance in any game that he plays. As a fielder, as well. It’s very hard to find a package like that.”
And on cue, Pandya turned up with India’s best performance on the day with the bat as well as completing his 10-over spell, and not the most expensive bowler. There is a long way to go for Pandya to become the finished article, but he has shown already that he is a diamond in the rough.
Virat Kohli - 7
Sure, he scored 258 runs in four matches – by no means a poor return. Sure, he led yet another successful chase for India, staying unbeaten, taking his aggregate to 5055 runs at an average of 63 while chasing. Sure, India reached yet another final at an ICC event. But, overall, Kohli leaves the tournament with more questions facing him than when they landed in the English shores. The saga with Kumble may have just ended but it’s worth noting that Kohli was found tactically wanting on many occasions as the captain and his troubles outside the off-stump resurfaced. A first duck in three years and a disappointing dismissal in the final meant that his returns from the tournament were, perhaps, below his own expectations.
And oh, his numbers in the knock-out matches in ODI tournaments are not actually that great.
Jasprit Bumrah - 7
Mistakes happen. That’s cricket. Bumrah’s no-ball in the final when Fakhar Zaman was on 3 is the one moment that decided the match, undoubtedly. But Bumrah was a key part of India’s demolition job against South Africa, choking the run flow for the Proteas early on and turning up with a man-of-the-match effort in a must-win match. It’s also worth remembering that handling the new ball is not his forte, but he acquitted himself quite well after Umesh Yadav was dropped for the last three games. The no-balls are a big frustration and he’s been guilty of it often, but that shouldn’t take away from what was a good tournament for him overall.
MS Dhoni - 6
The best wicket-keeper India have got. The best guide there can be for Kohli. The best reader of the game, when it comes to bowling changes and using the Decision Review System. And still can strike a mighty blow, like he showed against Sri Lanka. But his no-show in the final, when the pressure was on, is another worrying sign of his waning batting skills.
Kedar Jadhav - 6
The man with the golden arm, and all that. Barely got a chance to bat so it’s difficult to judge him on that. Like the rest of his teammates, missed out on the chance to make a statement in the final. His fielding is a major area of concern, but did neither too much to seal his place nor too less to warrant the axe. Status quo, then.
Umesh Yadav - 6
This is perhaps harsh as Yadav has been India’s best fast bowler in the past one year, but the shades of old Umesh who frustrated Dhoni in his days as captain was in full view against Sri Lanka – undisciplined in line, erring on length, and not bowling to the field. He was not the only one to get hit that day, but he certainly was the most expendable in the lineup as Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar offer much more in terms of variety. He will bounce back, though.
Yuvraj Singh - 5
One of India’s greatest match-winners and the go-to man in many an ICC tournament, Yuvraj started off in fine style against Pakistan, despite not having played a single ball in the warm-up matches. Hindsight is 20/20 but that one good innings he played, would have been cut short on 8 had Hassan Ali not dropped him. His tournament tally from four innings would have read 61 runs instead of the current 105. Neither are good numbers. The final was an opportunity to at least lead a fightback, if not go all the way (ala Natwest Final in 2002) but he, like his teammates, failed. And on the field, he was as perhaps the shabbiest alongside Jadhav and Bumrah.
More about the Yuvraj situation here.
Ravindra Jadeja - 5
Kohli had said after the first match against Pakistan that India’s fielding performance deserved just a six out of 10 and even that six was for Jadeja’s excellence in the field. We will extend that and say that he finishes just ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin on this list because he is by far the best fielder in this side and proved that even in the final with that stunning high catch to dismiss Zaman.
But with the ball, he was a disappointment and with the bat, nothing notable: four wickets in 42 overs at an average of 62.25 and economy rate of 5.92 was the exact opposite of his stellar displays in this tournament last time around in 2013. True enough, pitches have gone flatter but Jadeja’s biggest strength was his ability to hold one end and give control to his captain. He failed in four of the five matches.
And in a fitting sign off to a bad tournament, his last two contributions were to get the well-set Pandya run out and then tamely guide the ball to slip in the next few minutes.
Ravichandran Ashwin - 4
After all the clamour over his non-selection against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Ashwin came in to the XI against South Africa and provided the opening breakthrough. And that’s probably where his good times in the tournament ended.
Due to India’s constant rotation for ODIs, Ashwin played just 12 matches since the World Cup in 2015 and in that time he averages 61.58 per wicket and concedes at 5.47 runs per over, for his 12 wickets. Despite being an attacking bowler, he was inexplicably defensive in his approach in the final, something that Shane Warne pointed out repeatedly on air. He’s the world’s best right now with the red ball in his hand, but maybe it’s time to stay away from the white ball?
Bonus mention: Without even playing a match, it’s possible that Ajinkya Rahane’s limited overs career has regressed after this Champions Trophy. With Sharma and Dhawan striking form, Rahul waiting in the wings and even Rishabh Pant breathing down their neck, one wonders what the future holds for Rahane in blue.
For all other editor’s picks, please click here.